It’s isn’t always easy to sort out one’s thoughts. Some of us choose to go with a journal. Others might choose a ‘distraction’ to focus on while the chaos in their mind settles. What if others could see what story your words were telling? That is where the 2D platformer Lost Words: Beyond the Page comes in.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page Story
Through the pages of the journal, we learn of Isabelle Barbara Cooke’s dream of writing. Known by Izzy for short, the protagonist of the title shows us her fantastical journey of becoming a writer. Perhaps one has read the journal of a famous historical figure. But their words did not come to life the way this young writer’s words did. Izzy’s words literally come to life and spring from the pages of her journal. What will her wealth of imagination create in Lost Words: Beyond the Page? Join the young author on her journey to find the power of the written word. Experience more than a simple story and delve into a true fantasy world that shows how words can be magic.
Playing with a Journal
Lost Words: Beyond the Page had a pretty simple set of controls. It was a simple left/right control scheme with occasional use of the space bar and mouse. I’ve played a handful of other games that fit into the 2D platformer genre, but this title genuinely stood on its own. And while it was definitely surprising, it was an enjoyable experience for how it was built.
Movement through the story involved Izzy’s avatar running across the lines of her journal. If I missed a jump and fell off the edge of a sentence, I would land on the first words of the page. It comes with absolutely no danger of dying in the traditional sense. But it can of course get annoying when it happens too often.
At some points, Lost Words: Beyond the Page would require me to form sentences. Without these sentences, I could not advance through the story. Some of the words would also appear bright blue or purple. Sometimes, it would be a blend of these colors. And these bright words would add more to each page’s story. No matter the words, they provided a solid place for the avatar to land on. A handful of times this would activate an array of words to choose from. This helped me to form the story that young Izzy was trying to tell. These choices provided an additional layer that allowed each story to be just a little different, even adding a slight sense of replayability.
Eventually, these words brought forth a 2D platformer with 3D elements. But despite the story being told that way, there were continued glimpses back into a ruled journal. In this space, the words were wielded much like a wizard’s magic. It allowed manipulation of the environment. Certain places were only accessible thanks to such power.
Wild with Imagination
Lost Words: Beyond the Page was certainly unique. I’d never considered the idea of literally playing through a written word. Just jumping through the pages of a simple journal was a wonderful experience. The simple graphics were a welcome change of pace from everything else. And I loved the watercolor images that accompanied Izzy’s journal entries. The color palettes that were chosen were perfect for the game. The audio was never obnoxious at any point, something that can’t be said for some AAA titles.
And as the words morphed into a world full of life, it was a seamless change. From simple 2D drawings with minimal color, the world changed to a cel-shaded 2D/3D world full of vibrance. Using the words to magically manipulate objects greatly enhanced the visual experience of it all. It gave a visual equivalent to running across the bluish-purple word on the journal lines. Having the cursor take on the role of a ‘firefly’ was also an interesting touch.
Altogether, Lost Words: Beyond the Page was a genuinely pleasant 2D platformer. I’m a huge fan of deep and intriguing stories, and the title delivered well. It was amazing to travel through Izzy’s journal and take a journey through her imagination. It’s not an easy concept to pull off. But this game did it and it did so very well. Few movies and games have tried to do so, but I think Sketchbook Games and Fourth State did an excellent job here. A huge thanks to Rhianna Pratchett for such an amazing tale. If you’re looking for a slower pace in a story, but you want an adventure, this title has everything that you need. I’d also highly recommend playing this game for any author struggling to find inspiration to write.